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» Seventh Day Adventure: Week 13

The biggest game this week is the Iron Bowl, where the playoff hopes of Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia hang in the balance.

23 Oct 2017

Week 7 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger will forever be linked as members of the 2004 draft class, but they played very different games this weekend. Both quarterbacks won, but Roethlisberger went through hot and cold spells, while Rivers sputtered his way through four quarters while his defense and special teams did most of the work. Roethlisberger had six first downs in his first seven dropbacks against Cincinnati, but only five after that, including just one in his last nine plays. Rivers, on the other hand, had ten first downs in total against Denver, but never more than three in a row. Is "streakiness" a trait that some quarterbacks show consistently, or is this just random noise? Is this the kind of thing that can be quantified, measured, and analyzed?

We have explored these questions before, with mixed results. In Week 4 of 2014 I tried measuring the correlation of the DYAR of each play with the DYAR of the play that followed. The flaw in this methodology is that big plays like sacks and interceptions tended to warp the results. A week later, I tried again, this time measuring each quarterback's average streak of good or bad plays. Then I explored a new idea in Roethlisberger's comment in Week 2 of this season, and that's the basic methodology I'd like to explore today.

The basic idea is to measure each quarterback's success rate on passing plays (including sacks, interceptions, aborted plays, and DPIs, but not spikes or kneeldowns). If you're not familiar with success rate, the idea is explained here, but the details are this: a play is considered successful if it produces 45 percent of the yards to go on first down, 60 percent of yards to go on second down, or 100 percent of yards to go on third or fourth down. We have always been able to measure each quarterback's success rate over a season or a game, but today I've broken that down into two categories: success rate on plays after successes, and success rate on plays following failures.

Let's take Roethlisberger's game against Cincinnati, for example. He had 25 plays against the Bengals, with an overall success rate of 45.8 percent. Twelve of those plays came after successful plays, and his success rate on those 12 plays was 58.3 percent. Twelve of those plays came after failures, and his success rate on those plays was 33.3 percent. (His first pass of the game didn't come after a success or a failure, so it does not fit into either of these bins.) Subtracting the latter rate former, we can say that Roethlisberger's "streak rate" against Cincinnati was +25.0 percent.

Now we do the same process with Rivers. He had a success rate of 36.7 percent on 30 dropbacks against Denver. That includes a 25.0 percent success rate on 12 plays after successes, and a 44.4 percent success rate on 18 plays after failures, for a "streak factor" of (25.0% - 44.4%) -19.4 percent.

As it turns out, neither of these games was particularly streaky or un-streaky, compared to other games this year. Josh McCown had a streak factor of 42.3 percent in Week 1 against Buffalo. In the first three quarters of that game, McCown had three separate streaks of at least four failures in a row. Then he put together six successes in a row before ending the game on a run of 12 consecutive failures.

That's the most extreme example, but the other games in the top-five streakiest games list had similar moments:

  • Andy Dalton, Week 4 -- Streak Factor: 36.5%: In a 31-7 win over Cleveland, Dalton starts a string of 10 straight successful plays in the second quarter and lasting into the third. From there, he has four straight failures, four straight successes, and four straight failures to end the game.
  • Drew Brees, Week 6 -- Streak Factor: 36.1%: This was the game in which the Saints nearly blew a 45-10 lead before hanging on for a 52-38 win. Brees did not have a successful play after the midway point of the third quarter, finishing the game with an amazing 14 straight failed plays.
  • Blake Bortles, Week 1 -- Streak Factor: 35.9%: Though he had no very long streaks of a dozen plays or more, Bortles had three separate streaks against Houston with at least three successes in a row, and three separate streaks with at least three failures in a row.
  • Scott Tolzien, Week 1 -- Streak Factor: 30.0%: Why did the Colts trade for Jacoby Brissett? In his last 15 plays against the Rams, Tolzien had three straight failures, one success, and then 11 failures in a row.

Yes, three of the five streakiest games of the year came in Week 1. Russell Wilson's Week 1 game against Green Bay was sixth, and there were two other Week 1 games in the top 12. It's interesting that quarterbacks were much more streaky in the first three weeks of the season than they have been since, but right now there's no way to accurately say whether this is random noise or if there's something meaningful going on there.

NFL League-Wide Streak Factors by Week, 2017
Week Success%
After Success
Success%
After Failure
Streak
Factor
1 50.0% 40.2% 9.8%
2 48.9% 41.0% 8.0%
3 51.0% 40.6% 10.4%
4 47.9% 41.6% 6.3%
5 47.3% 41.2% 6.1%
6 45.7% 40.4% 5.3%
7 45.5% 40.1% 5.3%

Again, that drop-off may be due to nothing more than fate and happenstance, but the fact is that the majority of the most un-streaky games this year have come in the past few weeks. To wit:

  • Jay Cutler, Week 4 -- Streak Factor: -44.3% Cutler had 12 successes in 32 plays in a 20-0 loss to Miami. Only once did he have successes on back-to-back plays.
  • Aaron Rodgers, Week 4 -- Streak Factor: -29.6%: In a 35-14 win over Chicago, Rodgers had successes on each of his first three passes, but never again picked up back-to-back successes in his other 26 plays.
  • Carson Wentz, Week 6 -- Streak Factor: -29.6%: In a 28-23 win over Carolina, Wentz has back-to-back successes three times, but never makes three good plays in a row.
  • Philip Rivers, Week 4 -- Streak Factor: -29.2%: The Chargers fall to the Eagles 26-24 in part because Rivers has six straight failed plays between the first and second quarters. After that, though, he never hits on more than two successes in a row, or fails on more than three plays in a row.
  • Alex Smith, Week 1 -- Streak Factor: -27.7%: An anomaly of an un-streaky Week 1 game, but as we shall get to shortly, a fairly regular occurrence for Alex Smith this season. We all remember the big plays Smith made in the 42-27 season-opening victory over New England, but did you know that in the final 31 minutes of the game, Smith never had more than two successes or two failures in a row?

One advantage to this methodology: It lets us quickly analyze not just single-game results, but also full-season totals. And that's where things really start to get interesting.

NFL's Streakiest Quarterbacks, 2017
Name Plays Total
Success%
Rk Success%
After Success
Rk Success%
After Failure
Rk Streak
Factor
Rk
10-E.Manning 273 42.5% 22 53.9% 2 34.2% 31 19.7% 1
3-R.Wilson 228 45.6% 14 53.8% 3 38.7% 24 15.1% 2
4-D.Carr 198 47.5% 10 54.7% 1 40.8% 15 14.0% 3
9-M.Stafford 247 42.1% 23 50.0% 9 36.4% 27 13.6% 4
2-B.Hoyer 219 38.4% 30 46.5% 23 33.1% 32 13.4% 5
14-A.Dalton 205 42.0% 25 48.9% 15 36.8% 26 12.1% 6
8-M.Glennon 146 39.7% 27 46.6% 22 35.2% 30 11.3% 7
1-C.Newton 249 43.8% 21 49.5% 13 39.1% 23 10.4% 8
7-B.Roethlisberger 251 45.0% 15 50.4% 8 40.4% 19 10.0% 9
15-J.McCown 237 43.9% 20 48.6% 16 40.2% 20 8.4% 10
16-J.Goff 227 44.1% 19 48.5% 17 40.6% 17 7.9% 11
5-B.Bortles 204 44.1% 18 48.4% 19 40.5% 18 7.8% 12
12-T.Brady 277 48.4% 6 52.2% 7 44.8% 11 7.5% 13
7-J.Brissett 219 39.7% 27 43.8% 28 36.9% 25 6.9% 14
9-D.Brees 219 49.8% 3 53.2% 4 46.4% 8 6.8% 15
3-C.Palmer 289 44.6% 17 48.4% 18 41.6% 14 6.8% 16
Name Plays Total
Success%
Rk Success%
After Success
Rk Success%
After Failure
Rk Streak
Factor
Rk
5-T.Taylor 184 41.8% 26 45.5% 25 39.3% 22 6.2% 17
4-D.Prescott 205 46.3% 12 49.5% 14 43.8% 13 5.7% 18
8-K.Cousins 164 47.6% 9 50.0% 9 45.3% 10 4.7% 19
5-J.Flacco 234 37.6% 31 40.4% 30 35.9% 28 4.6% 20
2-M.Ryan 210 50.5% 2 52.3% 6 48.5% 4 3.8% 21
4-D.Watson 187 48.1% 7 50.0% 9 46.3% 9 3.7% 22
13-T.Siemian 233 42.1% 24 43.9% 27 40.7% 16 3.1% 23
3-J.Winston 212 51.9% 1 53.1% 5 50.5% 2 2.6% 24
7-C.Keenum 192 49.0% 4 50.0% 9 48.0% 5 2.0% 25
12-A.Rodgers 212 47.6% 8 48.0% 20 47.3% 6 0.7% 26
17-P.Rivers 267 44.9% 16 45.3% 26 44.7% 12 0.6% 27
7-D.Kizer 191 35.6% 32 35.3% 32 35.8% 29 -0.5% 28
6-J.Cutler 188 38.8% 29 38.2% 31 39.3% 21 -1.1% 29
11-C.Wentz 223 46.2% 13 45.5% 24 46.7% 7 -1.2% 30
8-M.Mariota 175 48.6% 5 47.6% 21 49.5% 3 -1.8% 31
11-A.Smith 243 46.9% 11 42.5% 29 50.8% 1 -8.3% 32
Minimum 100 pass plays.

On first observation, we see that most players are inherently streaky to some degree. There are a lot of factors that could be influencing this -- opponent strengths and tendencies, health of the quarterback and his teammates, coaching and play-calling tendencies, etc. -- but by and large, most quarterbacks are more likely to make a good play after another good play than they are to make a good play after a bad play. And of the few who are not, the numerical gap is slight enough that could easily change over the rest of the season. The one exception -- and isn't he always the exception? -- is Alex Smith, who is smart and experienced enough to avoid making several bad plays in a row, but also so limited that he rarely makes bunches of good plays in a row. There may be something to Smith's risk-averse playing style at work here -- as if other quarterbacks who have their opponents on the ropes will go for the knockout blow, while Smith never met a checkdown he didn't like. It also may not be a coincidence that Carson Wentz is third from the bottom, considering his head coach (Doug Pederson) used to work for Smith's head coach (Andy Reid).

Meanwhile, the four names at the top of the table -- Eli Manning, Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, and Matthew Stafford -- have all been moderately erratic this year, as judged by overall success rate. All four, however, have played much better on plays after successes, and much worse on plays after failures. The most extreme split goes to Manning, who has been the second-best quarterback behind Carr after successes, and the second-worst behind Brian Hoyer after failures. These numbers only cover the first seven games of 2017, but they make sense given the extremes of Manning's successes (two Super Bowl rings, twice leading the league in fourth-quarter comebacks) and failures (career completion rate below 60 percent, three times leading the league in interceptions). Manning has four games so far this season with at least 20 dropbacks and a streak rate of at least 20 percent; nobody else has more than two. At the other end of the spectrum, Smith has five games with at least 20 dropbacks and a streak rate of -10 percent or lower; nobody else has more than three.

It's also clear that streaky quarterbacks are not necessarily good quarterbacks. Most of the quarterbacks with high overall success rates fall on the less streaky side of things. Turns out throwing lots of incomplete passes in a row is a bad thing. Russell Wilson is the only quarterback in the top seven whose team has a winning record. At the bottom of the table, Smith and Wentz play for teams with the best records in their conferences, and the Titans are 4-1 in games Marcus Mariota has started and finished. (By the way, what's more surprising: that Jameis Winston is currently leading the NFL in success rate, or that his backup, Ryan Fitzpatrick, has been even better at 55.9 percent on 34 plays?)

We'll revisit this later this season to see if the players who have been streaky so far are still streaky later, and down the line we'll see how this holds up from one season to the next.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Derek Carr OAK
29/52
417
3
0
0
215
208
6
KC
For the better part of a week now, all anyone has talked about is what happened at the end of the game on Thursday night, but it was the first quarter when Carr was really at his best: 6-of-7 for 133 yards and two touchdowns. All six of those completions resulted in first downs, including a pair of third-down conversions.
2.
Jameis Winston TB
32/44
384
3
1
1
172
172
0
BUF
Winston was actually below replacement level in the first half, but he was second in third-quarter DYAR this week, and way ahead of everyone else in the fourth quarter/overtime. After halftime, he went 17-of-20 for 204 yards and two touchdowns.
3.
Carson Wentz PHI
17/25
268
4
1
3
147
135
12
WAS
Wentz was so good in the last 30-some minutes of this game that many people forgot how badly he struggled for most of the first half. His first 11 dropbacks resulted in three completions for 30 yards and one first down, one interception, three sacks, and a fumble. Of course, his 12th dropback was a 64-yard touchdown to Mack Hollins, and there was no looking back after that.
4.
Dak Prescott DAL
16/25
234
3
0
0
138
114
24
SF
Prescott got a lot of help from his receivers. With the exception of Mitchell Trubisky (whose bizarre day we shall get to, believe you me), no other quarterback this week topped Prescott's mark of 10.0 yards after catch per reception. His longest completion of the day was a 72-yard pass to Ezekiel Elliott, but that pass was actually caught 4 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
5.
Russell Wilson SEA
28/39
334
3
0
1
132
131
1
NYG
Wilson ripped up the middle of the Giants defense, going 9-of-12 for 143 yards. Every one of those completions gained a first down, including a touchdown and four third-down conversions. A 13th throw up the middle resulted in 4 more yards and another third-down conversion. That was nothing, though, compared to...
6.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
14/24
224
2
0
0
126
126
0
CIN
... Roethlisberger, who went 7-for-7 up the middle against Cincinnati for 161 yards and a touchdown. Six of those completions resulted in first downs; the seventh was a 12-yard gain on third-and-13. An eighth throw up the middle resulted in 34 more yards and another first down.
7.
Blake Bortles JAC
18/26
330
1
0
1
118
114
3
IND
On passes that traveled 5 to 22 yards past the line of scrimmage, Bortles went 9-of-9 for 177 yards and a touchdown.
8.
Tom Brady NE
21/29
249
2
0
2
98
98
1
ATL
As long as Brady and the Patriots stayed out of long yardage, they were nearly unstoppable against Atlanta. With 8 yards or fewer to go for a first down, Brady went 8-of-10 for 82 yards. All eight of those completions went for first downs, including two touchdowns.
9.
Drew Brees NO
27/38
331
1
2
1
86
84
2
GB
Take out the third quarter and Brees was actually below replacement level. That's especially true in the first quarter, when he threw two interceptions. But he led the league this week in third-quarter DYAR, going 8-of-11 for 134 yards and a touchdown.
10.
Matt Ryan ATL
23/33
233
1
0
1
83
66
17
NE
Ryan pulled a Blake Bortles this week, with most of his good plays coming after the game had been realistically decided. From the point the Patriots went up 20-0 with less than 20 minutes to play, Ryan went 13-of-14 for 120 yards. He had four first downs in the first 40 minutes, eight in the last 20, including a touchdown on his last pass of the game.
11.
Alex Smith KC
25/36
342
3
0
1
78
78
0
OAK
Smith had one of the best days you'll ever see between his own 32- and 37-yard lines: 5-of-5 for 181 yards. All five completions resulted in first downs, including -- yes -- two touchdowns. (He also hade a 2-yard loss and a fumble on an aborted play from the 39, but we'll just ignore that.)
12.
Kirk Cousins WAS
30/40
303
3
1
4
73
64
9
PHI
We don't usually think of Cousins as a great deep passer, but he was very effective on deep balls against Philadelphia: 5-of-7 for 131 yards.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Tyrod Taylor BUF
20/33
268
1
0
1
69
58
10
TB
Taylor was tied with Derek Carr for third-down DYAR this week (though Carr jumps ahead if you include fourth downs). On third downs, Taylor went 9-of-12 for 126 yards with seven conversions, including a 22-yard touchdown.
14.
Case Keenum MIN
20/31
188
0
1
0
64
59
5
BAL
On Baltimore's side of the field, Keenum went 7-of-14 for 46 yards and an interception. This is largely why Kai Forbath ended up kicking six field goals.
15.
Matt Moore MIA
13/21
188
2
1
1
54
54
0
NYJ
Jay Cutler has seven deep completions (passes that traveled more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage) in six games with the Dolphins this year. Moore had three in the final 23 minutes of this game, including a 28-yard touchdown to Kenny Stills. He also threw three incompletions on deep balls, one of them intercepted, so it wasn't all rainbows and sunshine. But if Cutler does end up missing extended time with his rib injuries, the Dolphins offense should at least be more fun to watch.
16.
Philip Rivers LACH
16/26
183
2
0
3
52
52
0
DEN
The Chargers game plan against Denver: avoid deep passes unless absolutely necessary, and even then, practice restraint. Rivers only threw two deep passes against the Broncos, one on second-and-19, one on third-and-14. Both traveled exactly 16 yards downfield, the shortest possible distance a pass can go and still be considered deep. Both were incomplete.
17.
Jay Cutler MIA
12/16
141
2
1
2
16
16
0
NYJ
Cutler made the worst of bad situations, but the best of good ones. He had one pass inside his own 10; it was intercepted. He had two passes inside the Jets 10; both resulted in touchdowns.
18.
Carson Palmer ARI
10/18
122
0
1
1
13
13
0
LARM
Palmer only had four plays inside L.A.'s 40, all on second or third down. Two were incomplete passes, one was a sack for an 11-yard loss, and one was a 6-yard completion on third-and-8.
19.
Jared Goff LARM
22/37
235
1
1
1
10
-3
12
ARI
The Rams won this game 33-0 and it easily could have been a lot worse. Goff had a terrible day in the red zone, going 1-of-7 for 18 yards over four trips. That one completion did result in a touchdown, but he also threw an interception from the 21.
20.
Brett Hundley GB
12/25
87
0
1
1
-8
-35
27
NO
Hundley did not throw a single pass in the red zone. He only had five passes in New Orleans territory, completing two of them for 13 yards. On third downs, he went 3-of-7 for 27 yards with one conversion and one interception.
21.
Cody Kessler CLE
10/19
121
0
1
2
-14
-14
0
TEN
Kessler completed each of his first four passes for 54 total yards and three first downs. Then Joe Thomas was injured. From that point forward Kessler went 6-of-15 for 67 yards with an interception and two sacks. He had four successes in four plays with Thomas, three success in 17 plays without him. On third downs, Kessler went 2-of-8 for 19 yards one conversion, one interception, and one sack.
22.
Mitchell Trubisky CHI
4/7
107
0
0
4
-14
-12
-2
CAR
OK, here we go. This game was so weird it literally broke our system. Our parser actually missed Trubisky's game on it's first run-through because, while he had 11 dropbacks, he only threw seven passes. The Bears have now won two games in eight days with 10 or fewer completions in each win. You have to go back to the 2012 Bills to find a team that had two or more such wins in an entire season. Five teams since 2006 have gone an entire game with fewer than 10 passes. All five won. Three of them were coached by John Fox. Only two of Trubisky's completions were even successful plays: a 24-yard completion to Zach Miller and a 70-yard completion to Tarik Cohen. His other nine plays had a net loss of 9 yards. His median gain was zero yards. Only two of his attempts came on first down, though one was the 70-yarder, so clearly he benefited from the element of surprise. He had three plays on Carolina's side of the 50: a 5-yard gain on second-and-15 and two sacks. He threw one pass to a wide receiver, an 8-yard gain on third-and-13 to someone named Tanner Gentry, who sounds more like the opening act at the Grand Ole Opry than an NFL wideout. As discussed at length in the essay and comments of Derrik Klassen's Film Room piece last week, Trubisky almost literally can not throw to his left. He was 0-for-2 throwing to his left against Carolina, and is now 3-of-11 for 27 yards when throwing to his left this year. I wrote 70 words about Trubisky for every pass he completed this week.
23.
Josh McCown NYJ
17/27
209
3
1
3
-14
-13
-1
MIA
GABBERT WATCH UPDATE: Another week, another few inches closer to a record that somehow feels farther away. McCown is now at -175 passing DYAR this year and -1,506 for his career, and while that's an impressive threshold, it still leaves him way short of Blaine Gabbert's record of -1,928. And even with Carson Palmer injured, the Cardinals have turned to Drew Stanton, meaning Gabbert isn't even getting a chance to play well and close the gap from the other direction. McCown was actually second behind Derek Carr in first-quarter DYAR this week, going 7-of-10 for 148 yards with two touchdowns and a sack. This has been a thing all year. McCown is in the top 10 in first-quarter DYAR this season, but only DeShone Kizer has worse DYAR from the second quarter through overtime.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
24.
Marcus Mariota TEN
21/34
203
0
0
2
-35
-38
4
CLE
Tennessee needed four field goals and overtime to win in large part because Mariota was so ineffective in scoring range. Inside the Cleveland 40, he went 9-of-13, but only gained 53 yards and one first down.
25.
Eli Manning NYG
19/39
134
1
0
1
-53
-53
0
SEA
Throwing to his right -- the side of Seattle's defense where Richard Sherman usually lines up -- Manning went 4-of-12 for 27 yards. Most of those throws (including a 5-yard touchdown) went to tight end Evan Engram. On throws to wide receivers to the right, Manning went 1-of-3 for 15 yards.
26.
Joe Flacco BAL
27/39
186
1
0
5
-55
-55
0
MIN
Flacco's longest completion this week gained 23 yards. Mitchell Trubisky had two completions this week longer than that. And it wasn't for lack of trying -- Flacco went 1-of-6 on deep passes. To be fair to him, those six passes were thrown to Chris Moore and Griff Whalen, which is not a recipe for success for any quarterback. Also, whichever cornerback plays on the defensive right side is doing a fine job for Minnesota. On throws to his left, Flacco went 5-of-8 for 6 yards (not a typo) with no first downs and only one successful play.
27.
Jacoby Brissett IND
22/37
200
0
0
10
-56
-50
-6
JAC
(The following all-sack Quick Reads comment has been brought to you by the Jacksonville Jaguars defense.) The Jaguars sacked Brisset six times on first down, twice on second down, and twice on third down. They sacked him once in the red zone, twice in the front zone, five times between the 40s, and twice inside the Indianapolis 40. They did not sack him in the first quarter, but they had three in the second, three in the third, and four in the fourth. Brissett was sacked more times in this game than Jameis Winston, Dak Prescott, or Drew Brees have been sacked all season. (This comment has been brought to you by the Jacksonville Jaguars defense.)
28.
DeShone Kizer CLE
12/20
114
0
2
0
-68
-68
0
TEN
In hindsight, the kindest thing Hue Jackson could have done for Kizer would have been to bench him right before halftime. Then Kizer would have had about 100 mor DYAR and been way up between Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler on this table. Instead Kizer threw an interception to end the first half, then another interception to start the second half, then he got benched, and here we are. Really, up to that point, things were going fine. There were 27 quarterbacks this week with at least 20 dropbacks, and Kizer's success rate of 45 percent ranked 13th in that group. I mean, in basically two quarters, he threw for nine first downs. Marcus Mariota, the other starter in this game, had eight first downs in five quarters.
29.
C.J. Beathard SF
22/38
235
0
0
5
-71
-88
17
DAL
Second down was a particular struggle for Beathard. He went 5-of-9 for 34 yards with only three successful plays and one first down. Meanwhile, he was also sacked four times, fumbling twice. Really, it was just the five sacks (and the fumbles that came with them) that were Beathard's undoing this week. Take all sacks away from all quarterbacks, and Beathard would have finished 17th in Quick Reads instead of 29th.
30.
Andy Dalton CIN
17/30
140
2
2
4
-78
-73
-5
PIT
The Bengals trailed just 20-14 at halftime, Dalton was playing well, and this game was very much winnable. Then came the third quarter from Hell and the fourth quarter from somwhere only slightly better, like the DMV or your mother-in-law's house. In the third quarter, he went 3-of-7 for 19 yards with two interceptions; in the fourth, he went 3-of-5 for 15 yards with four sacks. In 16 second-half dropbacks, that's 2 net yards (not a typo), one first down, and two turnovers. By DYAR, Dalton was the worst third-quarter quarterback (not to be confused with a buck-and-a-quarter quarterstaff) this week, and the third-worst fourth-quarter quarterback. Add that up, and only Josh McCown had even half as much negative DYAR in the second half in Week 7.
31.
Cam Newton CAR
21/34
211
0
2
5
-84
-82
-1
CHI
Five sacks, two interceptions, and a fumble will get you down at this end of the table, but the other factor dragging Newton down is the way he finished the game. The Panthers had four drives in the game's final 20 minutes, each down 17-3. On those four drives, Newton went 5-of-10 for 47 yards with an interception and a sack.
32.
Drew Stanton ARI
5/14
62
0
1
2
-91
-93
3
LARM
Stanton entered the game with Arizona down 13-0 in the second quarter, so this next comment is not totally fair, but still: Stanton did not throw for a first down until his last pass of the third quarter, by which point the Cardinals were down 26-0. Stanton only threw for two first downs in this game, on gains of 25 and 23 yards. That means his other 14 dropbacks (including two sacks) gained only 6 yards. On the Rams' half of the field, he went 0-for-4 with a sack.
33.
Trevor Siemian DEN
25/35
207
0
1
5
-98
-93
-5
LACH
How to Get Your Team Shut Out, by Trevor Siemian: Inside the Chargers' 40, Siemian went 5-of-7 for 38 yards (a total that is skewed by a 17-yard gain on fourth-and-26) with three sacks, two fumbles, and an interception. On third downs, he went 6-of-9 for 59 yards with a sack-fumble and only two conversions. He also had another fourth-down play; it was intercepted. He finished with 13 failed completions for 69 yards, both the highest marks of any quarterback this week. Deshaun Watson has only gained 66 yards on failed completions this season.


Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
26
147
2
1/3
72
1
99
79
20
SF
The most impressive part of Elliott's day wasn't his long reception, or his seven first downs, or his five runs for 10 or more yards. The most impressive part is that in 26 carries -- 22 of them with Dallas ahead, 11 of them with Dallas ahead by 24-plus points in the second half -- Elliott was hit for no gain or a loss just one time.
2.
Le'Veon Bell PIT
35
134
0
3/3
58
0
66
42
23
CIN
Bell now has 169 carries in seven games this season, or 24.1 carries per game. When Larry Johnson set the NFL record with 416 carries, he averaged 26.0 carries per game. At this rate, we'll by re-running the Curse of 370 piece by Christmas Day (when Bell and the Steelers play the Texans in Houston on Monday Night Football). As for this week, Bell had seven first downs on the ground and three runs of 10 yards or more, though his longest carry gained just 15 yards. He was hit for no gain or a loss six times, but that's not so bad over 35 carries.
3.
T.J. Yeldon JAC
9
122
1
2/2
15
0
48
49
-1
IND
Only two of Yeldon's runs gaine first downs, but all gained 2 yards or more, four gained 10 yards or more, and the longest was a 58-yard touchdown.
4.
Todd Gurley LARM
22
106
1
4/8
48
0
44
43
1
ARI
Only two runs for no gain or a loss, with six first downs, three runs of 10 yards or more, and an 18-yard touchdown.
5.
Matt Forte NYJ
7
41
0
5/5
41
0
34
24
10
MIA
One hit for no gain, but Forte's six other runs all gained at least 3 yards, and two gained 10 yards or more. He also had two first downs as a receiver, with a 13-yard gain on second-and-6 and a 21-yard gain on third-and-19.


Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
26
147
2
1/3
72
1
99
79
20
SF
2.
T.J. Yeldon JAC
9
122
1
2/2
15
0
48
49
-1
IND
3.
Todd Gurley LARM
22
106
1
4/8
48
0
44
43
1
ARI
4.
Le'Veon Bell PIT
35
134
0
3/3
58
0
66
42
23
CIN
5.
Aaron Jones GB
17
131
1
3/5
7
0
16
34
-18
NO
I saw Jones' receiving DYAR and assumed he must have had a fumble, but no -- his DYAR was so bad because he only gained 7 yards on five throws. Things were much better on the ground, though -- five first downs, three runs of 10 or more yards, a 46-yard touchdown, and only two hits for no gain or a loss.


Worst Running Back by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Carlos Hyde SF
14
68
0
4/8
20
0
-34
1
-35
DAL
Quite a boom-or-bust day as a runner, with five first downs on the ground, four of them on runs of 10 or more yards, but also five hits for no gain or a loss. Like Jones, he didn't fumble on any of his catches. But he did have incompletes on second-and-5 and fourth-and-1, and his yardage total is skewed by a 6-yard catch on third-and-20.


Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Isaiah Crowell CLE
17
35
0
4/6
36
0
-29
-25
-3
TEN
The problems in Cleveland go beyond the quarterback position. Crowell's longest gain was a 7-yarder, and that was also his only first down on the day. He was hit for no gain or a loss three times, with failures to convert on third-and-1 and second-and-4.


Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Amari Cooper OAK
11
19
210
19.1
2
65
KC
Sincere congratulations to Amari Cooper for making last week's column look really, really stupid. Mind you, Cooper still has negative DYAR on the year, but we can probably put the "worst season ever" talk to bed. Against Kansas City, Cooper's 11 receptions produced nine first downs, including touchdowns of 38 and 45 yards and two other catches of 20 or more yards. In addition to his 19 official targets, Cooper picked up 47 yards and another first down on a DPI. That play is accounted for in his DYAR.
2.
Ted Ginn NO
7
7
141
20.1
0
62
GB
Five of Ginn's completions resulted in first downs, including two gains of 40 or more yards and a conversion on third-and-17.
3.
Mike Evans TB
7
10
91
13.0
1
52
BUF
All of Evans' receptions resulted in first downs, including three third-down conversions. One of those was his fourth-quarter touchdown that put the Bucs up 27-20 with less than four minutes to go before they lost in regulation.
4.
Deonte Thompson BUF
4
4
107
26.8
0
47
TB
Thompson's totals include 50 DYAR receiving, -4 DYAR rushing for his one carry for no yards. This was just the second 100-yard game of his seven-year career. All four of his receptions produced at least 13 yards and a first down, the longest a 44-yarder. Two of those catches were third-down conversions.
5.
Kenny Stills MIA
6
9
85
14.2
2
46
NYJ
Stills' highlights included a 2-yard touchdown, a 28-yard touchdown on third-and-7, a 36-yard catch, and a 28-yard DPI on third-and-8.


Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Zay Jones BUF
2
9
17
8.5
0
-45
TB
Well, at least one of those catches produced a first down. Jones is now last in the league in receiving DYAR, and his catch rate of 22 percent is going to threaten some records. The worst we've found for any wideout with at least 50 targets is 29 percent by Stephen Baker of the 1992 New York Giants.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 23 Oct 2017

90 comments, Last at 25 Oct 2017, 10:10pm by theslothook

Comments

1
by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 6:57am

The biggest reason why most quarterbacks tend to be slightly streaky is due to the way success rate is measured. For instance, if you pick up 8 yards on 1st and 10, you only need 2 yards to have a successful play, while if you throw incomplete on 1st and 10, you need to gain 8 yards on your next play to be successful.

It's an interesting thing about Trubisky not being able to throw to his left. I seem to remember Rick Mirer being notorious for having a similar problem.

5
by RobotBoy :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 8:37am

Interesting point.

7
by RobotBoy :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 8:53am

So would it make more sense to extrapolate QB success rate on first down and how that varies from player to player?

17
by ChrisS :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 11:43am

I agree that is true, but if you look at the table you can estimate that the average QB is around 6%-7% streaky so from that you can still say Eli is very Streaky and Alex is about the same degree un-streaky. Maybe this stat needs to be changed so that its acronym is ELI, Expected streak-Length Indicator?

2
by BJR :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 7:55am

Another week, another opportunity to pile on the Browns for passing on Wentz/Watson.

Seriously though, evaluating QBs is tough. You've got Wentz, the physical prototype, loved by scouts, but coming from a tiny school having faced nothing remotely resembling an NFL defense. And Watson from a big school, with terrific production, including in the most challenging environments possible for a college QB, but apparently technically deficient and picked apart by scouts. Both having tremendous success.

Still begs the question what exactly the Browns are waiting for in their future QB.

3
by billprudden :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 8:15am

"Still begs the question what exactly the Browns are waiting for in their future QB."

Or if they even value the position? If they were waiting to get their QB until the off was ready to support them, I think we'd see more purposeful building of an OL and skill pieces. Instead, we see Jabrill Peppers with Ramczyk and Robinson still on the board.

6
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 8:51am

I'll cut them more slack on Wentz than Watson, if, for no other reasons, they could have traded down and still drafted a guy who had perhaps as statistically good a college resume as anyone has ever had.

The Eagles guess on Wentz has obviously worked out, and good for them. Then again, if you didn't see his work at the white board, you don't know how big a guess it was. Maybe he put on a Belichikian show in breaking things down.

9
by lokiwi :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 9:33am

Hard to assume that they would be having the same success on the Browns. Their picks are all Schrodinger ‘s Draft Pick: there’s a 50% chance whoever the Browns take is a box with a dead cat in it.

Their plan was pretty clearly to build from the lines out, though. It just so happens that the massive investment in the interior of O Line looks like a huge failure, now compounded by Thomas’ injury at tackle.

45
by OldFox :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 3:23pm

What exactly are the Browns looking for in their future QB? That's a good question. As you point out, it's tough to evaluate a college QB, so my guess is that the current front-office guys aren't confident enough in their ability to evaluate a QB, so they're not going to use a first-round pick on a QB until they get a shot at a guy who is considered a can't-miss prospect. They don't want to be like the previous regimes, blowing first-round picks on Quinn and Weeden and Manziel. Thus when a scout says that Wentz is too risky due to the low level of college competition he faced, the Browns' brass is scared off from drafting him. When a scout says that Watson is just a college QB who can't play the pro style, they shy away from him too. They just refuse to take a chance. They're like a bunch of QBs who throw nothing but dump-off passes to the back.

The Browns' brass has made it clear that they consider the draft a crapshoot and that the best way to win it is to gather extra picks. They aren't confident that they can hit the bullseye with a single rifle bullet, so they're going for shotgun pellets instead; if you fire enough shotgun pellets, surely one of them will hit the mark. I guess it's a reasonable enough approach, but of course it only works if some of those shotgun pellets do indeed find their way to the bullseye, and so far that's not happening. It's one thing to have a lot of draft picks; it's another thing to select good players with those draft picks. The Browns aren't doing a very good job of that (hopefully nobody will argue that point about a team that's 1-22 since the current brass took over).

The Cleveland sports-media guys were fawning all over DeShone Kizer before the season started (excuse me a moment while I barf), but they're mostly over that now. Lately they've started to hint that it's time for Hue Jackson to go. I'm somewhat on the fence about that; after all, he hasn't had much to work with, the players seem to like him, and I don't want to see the team get back into that cycle of hiring a new head coach every year or two. On the other hand, Jackson is 1-22, he's made some very questionable decisions, and he insists on making his QBs throw downfield a lot even though two of them (Kessler and Hogan) don't have the arm strength, and Kizer doesn't have the accuracy. Then Hue blames the QBs for failing to do something they aren't capable of doing, instead of modifying his offense to focus on the things that the QBs are capable of. So I guess if I have to be in one camp or the other, you can put me in the "fire Hue" camp. Maybe promote Gregg Williams to HC in order to maintain some degree of continuity. But really, until the Browns start drafting better, no coach can make this team competitive.

46
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 3:32pm

Any scout who said that about Watson should be fired. Was he risk free? No of course not, because outside of Elway, Manning, or Luck, nobody's risk free at quarterback. But he was a no-brainer for a team which could trade down and still get him

4
by BearDown1291 :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 8:32am

"He was 0-for-2 throwing to his left against Carolina,"

Unlike last week, these two incompletions weren't on Trubisky though. One pass was a dropped screen pass by Cohen and the other one was a back-shoulder-throw to the left sideline, where Cohen was late to turn his head and therefore unable to catch the ball. Both were good throws by Trubisky.

8
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 9:02am

Whomever drafts the Penn State rb this spring may be getting a guy who can top quick reads as a rusher, and as a receiver while split wide, in the same week. And also provide excellent pass protection when called upon. For my selfish entertainment purposes,I'm trying to figure out where I want him to land.

54
by InTheBoilerRoom :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 4:36pm

I'd like to see him in Indianapolis. Maybe he could take some of the burden off of Luck's shoulders.

55
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 4:44pm

No, no, no! No more generational talents in Jimmy Irsay's orbit! We simply got lucky with Peyton Manning becoming draft eligible shortly afer Irsay got lucky with Polian being available!

75
by t.d. :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 8:17pm

I don't think i his current state that Luck is quite the draw he was two or three years ago, but Irsay ought to have given a Godfather offer to Jim Harbaugh before he hired Ballard- then he could've receded back into the background and gotten credit for running an excellent organization like he did when Peyton was in town. (Luck doesn't even seem like a reliable franchise guy any more, and talk of loss of muscle mass in his arm makes you wonder if he can ever get back there at this point, which would be a terrible shame)

10
by ryan5581 :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 9:39am

Winston's leading success rate isn't surprising to me at all. While he does make some bad decisions, he throws downfield and has been pretty effective this year (unlike the Bucs defense). He has been near the top of the league in ALEX and will be well above average in DYAR/DVOA after this week.

16
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 11:00am

His major issue this year continues to be patently awful accuracy on deep balls, and this is an offense that really emphasized that, for some reason. Desean Jackson has been completely wide open on multiple deep attempts this year, and Winston just cannot hit that throw. Mid-range balls, seam routes, things like that, Winston's accuracy has been notably better this year, and he really has cut down the astoundingly stupid panic-flings he's been known for, but Koetter continues to run an offense that prioritizes the thing Jameis Winston is clearly singly worst at in his entire retinue.

Which is kind of frustrating.

22
by mrt1212 :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:02pm

What isn't frustrating is that nice usage of retinue!

59
by Alternator :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 5:09pm

A retinue are the people (advisors, scapegoats, aides, etc.) surrounding a person - I think the word you wanted is repertoire.

Heil mein grammar!

11
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 9:47am

I wish there was some kind of protection adjusted DYAR metric, so we could a fast take on who did the most while in fear of his health.

Cousins certainly did nothing to harm his payday come March.

20
by NoraDaddy :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 12:55pm

Both QBs last night were running for their lives. That's two of the best D lines in football.

21
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:01pm

Both qbs last night played great, but some of the throws Wentz made last night while under duress were really spectacular. Wentz is Andrew Luck on a team with competent management.

24
by LyleNM :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:05pm

I wish there was some kind of protection adjusted DYAR metric, so we could a fast take on who did the most while in fear of his health.

I propose the RUnning, Side-Stepping, and Eluding Large Linemen metric.

26
by mrt1212 :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:11pm

Bingo!

12
by Scott P. :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 9:48am

Brady's total DYAR is off by 1.

13
by nat :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 9:50am

Rounding. There are a few others with the same off by 1 situation. Not an error at all.

14
by Mike B. In Va :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 10:11am

Wow. I knew Zay Jones was having issues, but that's pathetic. Especially when one of the top five is the guy the team just signed.

15
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 10:57am

I, for one, am shocked--nay, SHOCKED--that a player who averaged less than 11 yards/catch in college playing for a smaller school somehow can't seem to find separation, run effective routes, and generally succeed as a wide receiver in the NFL.

37
by tjb :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:58pm

The problem isn't route running or separation, it's that he can't catch. At all.

You would think that should be the strength of a guy who caught a bazillion passes in college...

60
by ChrisS :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 5:13pm

His catch rate is 22% that is beyond abysmal.

18
by greybeard :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 12:17pm

I am curious about how the fumble in Alex Smith write up is evaluated within the context of the DYAR. Was it part of the DYAR calculation? It was a low snap that hit him in the shin area. NFL attributes that to QB. I am curious how FO differentiates between a bad snap versus a QB fumbling because of a hit. Thanks.

19
by big10freak :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 12:40pm

Ok, Hundley was not the worst. Baby steps

30
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:28pm

3.5 YPA and still 20th. Wow. Some rushing value, sure, but I guess Hundley was more of doing nothing than doing terrible things, so not as bad as it could have been.

32
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:32pm

3.5 if pretty awful. Maybe not set a dyar record horrible, but quite gross. Outside of getting a million turnovers for tds, I have a hard time seeing anyone winning a game with that kind of production.

41
by big10freak :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 2:43pm

McCarthy playcalling and pass protection worked in tandem to undermine any positives Hundley brings to the table.

MM ranted about investing 3 years in the guy and then organized a plan like the kid had been pulled off the street from his job at a Citibank call center.

23
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:04pm

Trubisky's rank is testament to the value of not screwing up.

39
by ChrisLong :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 2:21pm

As is Hundley's to some degree

25
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:06pm

I have to wonder if the Bears are taking the right approach with Trubisky. Ok, so having him throw more will most likely lead to losses and ugly dyar performances, but what are the bears playing for exactly? They don't have Jacksonville's defense to ride to the sb. This is their qb of the future, supposedly. I dont have any evidence showing that hide the qb is necessarily worse than throw him to the wolves, but I have to think its the kind of stuff that stunts a qbs growth down the road.

27
by mrt1212 :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:13pm

You know, If I was a Bears fan, I'd be all for them just winning every ugly way possible and keep the entertainment value high. The Bears haven't been interesting for a few years and Trubisky's development should be damned if they get a small reprieve from that.

29
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:21pm

What stunts a qb's growth most of all is getting the feces stomped out of him, week in and week out, and Fox is certainly avoiding that. Now, the Bears o-line is actually pretty good, so it isn't like Trubisky is facing, by NFL standards, huge physical threats, but breaking him slowly, increasing what is on his plate, as he grows, makes a lot of sense for a yeam which isn't contending yet.

31
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:30pm

The stat line was pretty extreme though. 7 passes? To quote Mike Tanier - "that's not training wheels, that's a car seat and soft blankie"

Btw - I agree with you - throwing your qb to wolves with a disaster roster will wreck almost any qb. I saw the Bears take a highly ascending Jay Cutler and smash him to pieces. His temperament notwithstanding, for a good chunk of his early Chicago tenure - he had the unenviable task of compensating for a terrible line along with some shoddy no name receivers.

33
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:42pm

I am going to wear people out with this, but the Bears may end up in the perfect spot to draft the Penn State rb, and if they get him, Trubisky will be just fine. Adrian Peterson made The Ponderous One look like an average NFL starter for about a season, for cryin'out loud. This rb is Peterson when taking a handoff, except he doesn't need to be deep in an I formation, he is effective as a receiver lined up anywhere, and he has already turned himself into a good pass blocker. Put him behind Trubisky and that line, with an already good defensive front, and Trubisky's 2nd contract is going to be very lucrative. I'd bet this has occurred to Fox as well.

36
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:52pm

I'm not quite sure I believe this, but even if it were true:

A) there's no guarantee you get the running back you want unless you tank and ensure you have the first choice
B) Even you conceded - it only overrated Ponder for a season. Ponder was still Ponder and that's the problem
C) What if he's not AP - then how well can you really get by. How likely is he to be AP anyways?
D) The Jaguars seemed to take this route. I would say, so far, they've won despite Bortles. Bortles has been the same qb he was a year ago with TJ Yelden.

If you drafted a guy 3rd overall, you aren't hoping he becomes a game manager at his best. I would think the expectations are much higher than that.

38
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 2:04pm

Well, I think rbs have been devalued enough that Barkley won't be 1st overall. One, maybe 2 of the qbs will go before him, and maybe an edge rusher as well.

I think it is obvious, from the small sample I've seen that Trubisky is far, far, more physically gifted than Ponder, whose only notable physical trait, by NFL qb standards was straight line speed.

Lastly, I'm not one to easily sing tbe praises of college rbs.I didn't do so with Elliott, Fournette, or Gurley. I may be wrong, but this guy, short of injury or being drafted by the Browns, is going to be a HOFer.

40
by Ambientdonkey :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 2:37pm

Jordan Howard is pretty good already, I don't think hey'd be getting much use out of that pick.The offensive tackles could still use some work, as could the entire defense. I'd prefer they didn't waste it on another WR. Just sign some competent ones in free agency then go mining the mid rounds.

43
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 3:17pm

I think you are underestimating what happens to the opposing defense when there is a player who is a legitimate threat to score a touchdown anytime he touches the ball, from anywhere on the field, and in this case it is a guy who can, due to his very unique talents,get the ball effectively in any way the rules allow.

52
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 4:34pm

Still, this is about Trubisky and what you want him to be. Should the bears be trying to hide him? Drafting the next AP may help them hide him better, but they invested heavily in him. Why trade up and spend the 2nd overall pick to draft a glorified Christian Ponder.

53
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 4:36pm

Belichik didn't try to fully make Tom Brady Tom Brady for about 7 or 8 years, and really didn't force anything on him for a year. Yes, Trubisky was a first rounder, but the point is to win. Making opposing defenses have match up nightmares is the best way to do it.

57
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 4:56pm

Sure, I'm just questioning the wisdom of throwing 7 passes a game. I feel like that's an absolute extreme trying to win every game 14-7

66
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 6:37pm

Eh, the guy hasn't started 5 games yet, and the season is all about the future. If Fox is still doing this in December, when the Bears are trailing in the game, then I will criticize him. Trubisky may have learned a very valuable lesson a couple days ago, that some guys never do, that games are as frequently lost as they are won.

89
by sbond101 :: Wed, 10/25/2017 - 9:30pm

This bear consistent such repeating; John Fox is a great coach for terrible QB's simply because he's one of the only coaches in the NFL willing to let the rest of his team find a way to win a game. There are a dozen owners/GM's/coaches of football teams that haven't sniffed the playoffs in a decade (mostly in the AFC) that seem to think they need a HOF QB to win a game, and that they've made a mistake if they don't put the game in the hands of the QB to "see what they have". If all this season accomplishes is teaching Trubisky that he can get going in the NFL playing Alex Smith ball and simply not losing for his team, he will be farther ahead then 10+ QB's currently starting in the NFL.

90
by theslothook :: Wed, 10/25/2017 - 10:10pm

I guess the unanswerable question is, will he eventually be able to pick up the finer nuances of quarterback play doing this kind of game? Even the Alex Smith comparison is not particularly accurate. Alex Smith does a lot more then just hand the ball off and occasionally throw a third-down pass short of the sticks. He actually calls audibles and has a lot more freedom to read defenses.

I remain skeptical that Mitch can learn all these things and learn to be a good thrower when he's being hidden so much. Also what is likely to happen when they fall behind? Isn't it easier and better to get him some throws when he's in a favorable situation than when he has to come from behind?

42
by Guest789 :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 3:15pm

I'm so confused, is there a reason you're seemingly deliberately avoiding naming this player (I don't follow college football at all)?

So far he's been "the Penn State rb", "a guy", "This rb", "this guy" and "him".

44
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 3:20pm

Wrong! I named him above!

I was mostly unsure of the spelling of the first name, so I avoided it altogether.

47
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 3:47pm

nohgint wrong with just doing what I do a lto and going with "S. Barkley". I suualy do that for style reasons. not surwe what style that is or why it is done by me. is just a style.

49
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 4:02pm

Good advice, as always, rj. "S. Barkley" it is!

48
by Guest789 :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 3:51pm

Ah ok. With the context I didn't fully pick that up. Thanks!

56
by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 4:54pm

Or does MTruby only get 11 dropbacks because he's just not very good, like Tebow?

63
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 6:28pm

He's certainly not good yet. Careers are not a static thing, however.

71
by Otis Taylor89 :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 7:14pm

He is also throwing to CFL level talent at WR.

73
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 7:19pm

True enough.

28
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:18pm

There's a lot to like about Wentz, but one thing I came away with is - he can get frenetic in the pocket. He scans the field when he his drops, but if the first one or two reads is not there - the clock in his head beeps and he looks to run. To me - the capstone class at QB university is being able to step around in the pocket and keep your eyes down the field for options.

Before Tom Brady was Tom Brady - he was good at this skill. Then he became a legend at it. Ditto for Manning the elder. Aaron Rodgers has come a long way on this as well.

35
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:49pm

Well, sure, but for a guy who coming into last year had about 16 non-high school starts, with toughest competition being 1 game against Iowa State, he's really developed quickly. Short of getting physically hammered, I think it likely he'll come along fine. If he's going to run that much, however, I'd really like to see more contact avoidance from him, like Wilson or Watson

34
by TomC :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:44pm

I feel compelled to point out that the #4 WR in DYAR (who is also a very good kick returner) was cut by the Bears. I guess if you never throw the ball, you don't need WRs, but the guy they kept instead (Tanner Gentry) keeps costing them timeouts and delay of game penalties by not knowing where to line up.

50
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 4:15pm

Concerning the Browns and Wentz: Let's look at the players the Browns got in that deal, including those acquired by trading the picks they got in that deal to other teams:

Corey Coleman - Injured a lot, but probably the team's top WR when healthy. On injured reserve with a broken hand but eligible to return before the end of the season.

Shon Coleman - Starting at right tackle this season.

DeShone Kizer - Opened the season at QB. Has been terrible, but remember he is only 21 and has many years to develop.

Cody Kessler - Looks to be the kind of "good backup, bad starter" QB who will hang around the league for a decade.

Derrick Kindred - Starting safety, fourth on the team in tackles.

Spencer Drango - Unchained as a starter now that Joe Thomas is hurt. Also started nine games as a rookie in 2016.

Ricardo Louis - Cleveland's top WR so far in 2017.

Jordan Payton - released before 2017 season.

Jabrill Peppers - starting safety and primary kick and punt returner.

All that, plus Houston's 2018 first-round pick and Philly's 2018 second-round pick.

So what would you rather have? Carson Wentz, or six starters and two high draft picks still to go? And if you take Wentz, do you think he'd be doing as well as he has in Philadelphia in Cleveland, without either Coleman, Louis, or Drango? Plus two starters in the secondary?

I am curious about how the fumble in Alex Smith write up is evaluated within the context of the DYAR. Was it part of the DYAR calculation? It was a low snap that hit him in the shin area. NFL attributes that to QB. I am curious how FO differentiates between a bad snap versus a QB fumbling because of a hit. Thanks.

Fumbled snaps are always charged to the QB, no matter whose fault it is. Even if the ball is snapped over the QB's head and he never touches it. There is an adjustment between fumbled snaps and fumbles on sacks based on which is more likely to be recovered by the offense. For the record, this fumbled snap was worth -24 DYAR for Smith.

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by theslothook :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 4:23pm

Carson Wentz + competent coaching(something usually suspect with the Browns) is a lot more valuable than six what if starters. Plus, you aren't stuck doing that. You can also build around the team with better receivers in free agency, instead of doing the cut everything and suck that they have been.

This is why I argued so vociferously when the Browns traded the pick : A qb changes everything. A great qb can change a franchise entirely - see P. Manning.

If Peyton Manning went to the browns, they would not be the laughing stock they are now.

58
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 5:01pm

When we see what Archie helped orchestrate to get Eli away from A.J. Smith, the Spanos family and the Chargers, which I'm sure was influenced by what Archie went through with the Saints orginal ownership, there's a pretty good reason to think there are no circumstances where Peyton would end up with the Browns. I wish more high draft picks would try to control their careers to that degree. Peyton and Eli had alot of advantages in that regard.

61
by Rocco :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 5:55pm

Wentz, because QB is the toughest position to fill and the Browns are no closer to solving that problem. Next question.

62
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 6:26pm

I don't think it is quite as easy as that, because you can win a lot of games, even championships, without finding superior qb play over a long, or even short period (defined as 1 entire season) of time.

64
by Rocco :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 6:30pm

On the other hand, if you have a good QB it can cover up a ton of other problems and buy you the time you need to solve them (e.g. the Andrew Luck Colts from 2012-15).

67
by LyleNM :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 6:37pm

And what exactly have the Colts done to solve those problems with all that time they've had? Hilton and a couple rookies are generally the only players of value that I hear even Colts fans talking about.

79
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/25/2017 - 8:00am

If the Colts had competent management, having Luck would have given them plenty of opportunity to build a true contender around him. Instead of taking advantage of that opportunity, Grigson did things like burn a first round pick on Trent Richardson, draft Philip Dorsett, and ignore their defense (aside from overpaying middle-tier veterans). A good quarterback can cover up a lot of problems, but definitely not all of them.

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by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 6:40pm

Sure, but Wentz was no sure thing. Confirmation bias tends to make everything seem so obvious.

78
by TomC :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 9:28pm

Bingo.

80
by Rocco :: Wed, 10/25/2017 - 9:39am

I was reading the question as "what would you rather have now?" as opposed to "would you have taken Wentz in the draft over these draft picks?" As for the latter, the Browns trading the pick was defensible. It hasn't really worked out for them.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 10/25/2017 - 11:04am

It's defensible but is it the right move? Forget that his name was Wentzs for a second. A top prospect has a ton of uncertainty, but a far greater chance of success than qbs drafted down the road. And the thing is: it's an unavoidable problem.

The browns will once again draft high. Should they trade that one for a bunch of picks and draft another 2nd round qb? At what point does it make sense to pull the trigger finally?

86
by BJR :: Wed, 10/25/2017 - 11:48am

If they are being consistent, and truly believe in their strategy, then they should attempt to trade down again. That is unless they truly are sold on one of the top prospects (which given what we have already seen seems unlikely to happen). The team is still terrible, so it makes no more sense to thrust in a top QB prospect now and risk ruining him than it did two years ago - if that is what they are concerned about.

84
by BJR :: Wed, 10/25/2017 - 11:32am

Yes it's ludicrous to think that, with hindsight, the Browns would still rather have the players + picks, which I believe is what was being suggested. The fact that several of those players are now starting for the Browns in no way mitigates that; they are starting for an historically awful team.

I'm also not sold on the idea of building the rest of your team before adding a QB as the final piece. Yes, thrusting a young QB into a dire situation is not ideal, but plenty have succeeded in spite of that (I can think of Stafford, Luck, Derek Carr in recent seasons). History is also littered with examples of otherwise excellent rosters completely hamstrung by lousy QB play e.g. the current day Jags (and Cleveland are still a million miles away from that scenario.)

None of that is to say Cleveland made the wrong decision not taking Wentz. But I think it's fair to now begin questioning where their overall strategy is taking them, given how abysmal their performance continues to be.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/25/2017 - 2:32pm

Again, the strategy would have allowed for the drafting of Watson, if they would have had an appropriate grade on him, and there plenty of data to give an appropriate grade. On the other hand, a lot of other teams may have graded him inappropriately as well. Not nearly as poorly as Russell Wilson a few years ago, but pretty bad. I don't think some of these guys are weighting college performance heavily enough.

(Edit) Then I remember how inappropriately they weighted Manziel's college performance. Maybe the Browns, no matter who is in charge, just suck at evaluation.

65
by Raiderfan :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 6:34pm

I disagree. Even PM was less than stellar his first five years, and did not turn into PFM until 2003, when his PR was above 95 for the first time. And he was as blue chip as they come, far more then Wenz. So six starters and two high picks looks like a good deal, to me. He might have turned into JaMarcus Russel.

69
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 6:47pm

When I rip the Browns, it is for things like putting a first round grade on the likes of Manziel, Weedon, or Richardson, or for failing to trade down and still get the college qb with perhaps the best statistical resume ever, like Watson. Not for being reluctant to make a wager on a guy with a very small number of college starts, against poor competition. It's working out great for the Eagles, but nobody should pretend this was even close to being low risk.

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by theslothook :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 7:09pm

Peyton led the NFL in DVOA and DYAR his second season in the NFL. He was already a pretty damn good qb prior to 2003 when he started his ascension into god.

We can certainly agree that the Browns would have delayed his ascension and dampened his numbers, but I have a hard time believing even the browns and all their incompetence could have stamped him out completely.

The colts were a burning pile of suck for a long time prior to Manning's arrival, with an occasional playoff appearance here and there. Sometimes, a qb can turn a franchise around and make you forget just how low the pit was before he got there.

72
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 7:17pm

Polian's arrival just prior to Manning was critical. Absent that, I bet Archie engineers an exit strategy, before he even puts a jersey on, just like Elway and his dad did with Jimmy Irsay's dad.

Every qb is flesh and bones, and can be ruined, in a sport of extreme violence.

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by theslothook :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 8:14pm

Sure, but I think Peyton is uniquely gifted in that he can mitigate the damage done by weak talent better than any qb in history. That skill alone doesn't make him the prohibitive goat, but it is something I've never seen another player do before. Comparing across eras is hard, but even Dr.Z noted that Manning's durability and general command would have worked in any era. A Manning offense, at its core, simplifies everything for the rest of the team and leaves the thinking to Manning.

I don't think hes winning MVPS with the browns, but I truly believe they are a tough 8-8 team with Peyton Manning and the rest of the offense made of driftwood.

76
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 9:08pm

The latter Manning who could compensate for absolute dreck around him was not that guy in the late 90s, although that guy in the late 90s was still really good.. If he'd been asked to do that from the start he may have had a greatly shortened career. I don"t think Archie would have let that happen, however.

81
by nat :: Wed, 10/25/2017 - 9:54am

Did Manning ever have absolute dreck around him?

It's quite the reverse. He almost always had either a HOF quality WR or several #1 WRs on the field at the same time.

His worst supporting WR cast was 2010, with Collie, an aging Wayne, and Garcon. Garcon has proved to be a quality WR. Wayne was a shadow of his former greatness, but was still worth playing as a #2 for a few more years. Only Collie flamed out after Manning left.

That's hardly dreck. It's about like having a #1-level WR playing #1 WR, a #2-level WR playing #2 WR, etc. Basically, it was like having an average receiving corps for the first time (and only time) in his career. It was only dreck by comparison to the Colts' monster receiving corps of the previous decade.

Pretty much every other year you would have to honestly grade his WRs as one of the strongest sets in the league. Yes, he made them look even better - he was that good. But his skill was making a great WR corps look world-class, not making a bad WR corps look good. That's one muscle he never really had to flex.

82
by theslothook :: Wed, 10/25/2017 - 11:00am

2010 had a 2nd year starting Garcon, a mostly injured Austin Collie, and an aging playing through injury Wayne. It got so bad, they were using practice squad players at receiver and tight end. The o line was also terrible.

I don't think the 08 or 09 offenses were that talented either outside of Wayne. Garcon was a first year starter w Manning in 09 and by that point, the o line had already begun it's slide

I'm also curious how good Denver's receivers are as it feels something of a revisionist history to say they were good. Especially Decker and Thomas at that point in their careers. Are we even sure Thomas is a good receiver vs someone like Muhammad Sanu?

I'll agree pre 07, when Wayne and Harrison were at peak powers.

85
by nat :: Wed, 10/25/2017 - 11:47am

Decker has been putting up decent numbers since Denver, despite some pretty weak QBs throwing to him. He's proved himself to be a worthy #1 WR in this league, confirming what his numbers in Denver said. Thomas has been inconsistent, but still rates as a #1 WR. The assessment from watching his games with Manning was that he was the #1 target then for a good reason. Add Welker and you have a stellar set of targets: three guys, each of whom had #1 WR skills and had, or would soon have a #1 WR track record as well.

2009 had Wayne at the height of his powers and Collie playing well. Garcon was new, but showing promise. 2008 had a great Wayne plus a first round draft pick widely considered a steal. Neither year was up to the Harrison/Wayne/Clark years. Both were very solid.

Wayne deserves to get to the HOF as one of the hardest to defend receivers of his time, but won't, since sending him would tick off Manning fans.

By 2008, you Manning/Colts fans were so used to ridiculously strong WR sets that you thought they were normal. They weren't. And never were.

87
by theslothook :: Wed, 10/25/2017 - 12:50pm

I guess it all depends on what you consider worthy number 1 receiver. Decker is solid. Thomas is solid. Neither is a hall of famer or even a probowl player without really good qb play. I think the last few years suggest that.

Garcon was not really playing in 08 and he was a first year starter in 09, not the player he is now.

Anthony Gonzalez was hurt most of 08 and played all of one game in 09. He was a solid slot receiver when healthy(which wasn't often), but no more. From about half of 07 to 2010, Manning's receivers were Wayne and a pretty average set of alternative pass catchers( depending on how good you think Dallas Clark is in a vacuum).

Reggie Wayne is my second favorite player ever, but he is not really a hall of fame quality receiver. Damn good, gutty, smart receiver, but I can name a half dozen around the same era I'd rather have in a vacuum. Marvin Harrison is an all time receiver by contrast.

This gets to the crux of my argument. 2010: Manning was surrounded by dreck, but that's not been most of his career. I think he's had half a career playing with terrific talent and half a career playing with talent most teams have. Terrific talent describes 2002-2006 and 2013-2014. Put him on the Jets, for example, and we would have a very different opinion of how good their pass catchers are. Remember, no one thought a thing about Decker or Thomas before he got there. Even when Orton was throwing passes, neither did much.

He's not unique in this regard, put any elite qb on what is considered average talent and they will look a lot better than they are.

Is Manning's supporting cast better than your average hall of famer? I haven't studied the issue but it wouldn't surprise me if it was, especially if we are just focusing on skill position talent.

If we throw in coaching, defense, and offensive line play : it becomes a pretty subjective exercise, but beyond the point I was making

77
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 9:08pm

The latter Manning who could compensate for absolute dreck around him was not that guy in the late 90s, although that guy in the late 90s was still really good.. If he'd been asked to do that from the start he may have had a greatly shortened career. I don"t think Archie would have let that happen, however.